Everyone needs a good pie recipe up their sleeve (probably folded like an origami jester’s hat – because why not). There’s nothing better than a comforting homemade pie for Sunday lunch in the colder months that sets you up for the busy week ahead.
This is always a crowd pleaser and I use the term ‘steak pie’ loosely as it’s actually an updated and luxurious yet lighter version of a traditional meat pie because it’s made with top quality lean beef rump joint or topside, it is full of vegetables and only has pastry on the top.
You will need:
A small joint of beef
2 red onions or several shallots
150g button mushrooms
For the shortcrust pastry:
8 oz plain flour
6 oz butter
A pinch of salt
4 tablespoons of cold water (and possibly a bit extra)
First of all prepare the beef. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Chop and peel 2 small red onions into quarters (or several de-skinned shallots kept whole) and place them around the beef in a large oven dish and drizzle the meat and onions with extra virgin olive oil. The onions will caramelise and release a real sweetness as you slowly roast the beef, which in turn will produce its own succulent juices that together will form the basis of your stock for the pie. Place the joint into the oven to start the slow roasting.
Then make the buttery shortcrust pastry.
Sift the flour and add the salt into a mixing bowl. Chop the butter into cubes and coat them in the flour. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre and add the water. Press the mix together (you might need to add some extra water) and form a dough. Turn on to a lightly floured board and knead the pastry until it’s smooth. Put the dough back into the bowl in the shape of a ball, cover with cling wrap and chill in the fridge for half an hour.
While you wait for the pastry and after the beef has been in the oven for half an hour, turn the joint over and cover the oven dish with foil and put it back in the oven again.
Now prepare the vegetables.
Peel, top and tail 4 large carrots and chop into very fine batons, aim for almost grated-like consistency, wash and set aside. Chop the leeks and boil/sauté briefly in a saucepan. Prepare the small button mushrooms and slice finely. Sauté the mushrooms in a generous chunk of butter until they’re soft and put to one side.
Fetch the pastry from the fridge and roll it out on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of half a centimetre in a square/oblong shape, big enough to cover the size of the dish your beef is in.
Remove the dish from the oven and transfer the beef and onions onto a plate. Pour the juices from the dish into a saucepan and add 1-2 teaspoons of vegetable stock powder – I like the Organic Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon powder and add a bit of extra water if necessary. In a cup mix up 2 teaspoons of cornflour to a tiny amount of water just enough to dissolve it and add it to the saucepan on a low heat and keep stirring until it just starts to bubble and take it off the heat.
Chop the beef into centimetre cubes. Arrange the beef, onions, carrot batons, leeks and mushrooms onto the dish and pour the rich gravy all over and distribute all of the ingredients evenly and carefully place your pastry on top and crimp up the sides of the dish.
Put the pie back into the oven on 180°C for about 20 minutes until the crust is golden brown and cooked to perfection.
Pie. Pie. Pie before your eye – notice the iris – grab your stylus – allow your hand to drive it – smell the onions, fry them. Not dryly.